Today, I'd like to show you the first appearance of the modern "tempo marks", and the idea of "allegro" in the 18th century by comparing two different editions (the first one and the last one) of an interesting dictionary of music called "Dictionnaire de musique" by Sébastien de Brossard.
Thinking about Tempo
At the present day, "Allegro" is widely considered "fast and energetic" tempo. Giving the fact that the literal meaning of the word "allegro" in Italian is "cheerful" or "joyous", it is easy to imagin that such moods resulted quick tempo, rather than slow one. But how fast is it?
Today's topic is the first appearance of the term "Allegro".
Today, I'll show you the origin of the divisibility of the modern note values and the time signature. Have you ever wondered why the symbol of C means 4/4 time or "alla breve" means "2/2" time? You'll find out now.
Anyone who likes classical music would be familiar with tempi like Allegro, Moderato, Andante, Adagio, Largo, etc. and their diminutive forms such as Allegretto, Andantino, etc.
But do you know exactly how fast or slow these tempi should be interpreted? Do you know which is faster between "Allegro" and "Allegretto" or "Andante" and "Andantino"? You'll find out soon through this series of articles!